I am doing a barbecued bulgogi tri-tip for our Sunday meal. To go with the Korean main dish, I decided to make a potato salad with napa cabbage kimchi as my starchy dish. I decided I needed another vegetable dish and I found a recipe for oi bokkeum—stir fried cucumbers. I first had fried cucumbers in China, so I thought I would create my own Korean stir fry sauce.
Karl’s Oi Bokkeum
Karl’s Korean stir fry sauce
5 Persian cucumbers
½ tsp. Kosher salt
½ cup carrot
½ cup red bell pepper
½ cup green bell pepper
1 Tbs. peanut oil
2 Tbs. green onion tops, sliced finely
1 Tbs. toasted white sesame seeds
1. Measure the stir fry sauce ingredients—soy sauce, gochujang, vinegar, ginger, shaoxing, sesame and sugar—in to a small bowl or cup.
2. Roll cut the cucumbers place them in a bowl.
3. Sprinkle the salt over the cucumbers and toss to evenly coat them with the salt.
4. Let the cucumbers sweat for 10-15 minutes.
Tip: Toss every 2-3 minutes to redistribute the brine that is formed as the cucumbers lose their moisture.
Note: Cucumbers have a lot of moisture in them, if you do not remove some of their natural liquid they will never fry—they will just stew in their own juices.
5. Put the cucumbers in a sieve and set them aside to drain.
Tip: Do not rinse off the salt, just let most of it drip away.
6. Cut the carrot, red and green bell peppers into ¼ x 1 inch matchsticks.
7. Heat the oil in a sauté pan—or wok—over a medium high until shimmering.
8. Spread the cucumbers in a single layer and let them fry for two minutes.
9. Add the carrots to the pan, toss the cucumbers, and let the vegetable fry for another two minutes, undisturbed.
10. Add the peppers and stir fry the vegetables for 2-3 minutes.
11. Pour the sauce over the vegetables and continue stir frying for a final 1-2 minutes.
12. Transfer the vegetables to a serving bowl and garnish with the green onion and sesame seeds.